fact-value distinction


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fact-value distinction

the distinction (often associated with HUME and the Logical Positivists) between factual assertions and moral assertions as two distinct classes of assertions, and the claim that moral assertions cannot be derived logically from factual assertions. While some sociologists have accepted the terms of this distinction (including, significantly, Max WEBER), other sociologists have refused to accept such a limitation on the significance of social science on the grounds that, for all practical purposes, facts and theories both inform and influence values, and that to deny this is to suggest an ‘irrationalism’ of values which is unwarranted. As GOULDNER (1973) remarks, ‘one possible meaning of the term “objectivity” in social science is the contribution it might make to a human unity of mankind’. See also VALUE FREEDOM AND VALUE NEUTRALITY, VALUE RELEVANCE, BECKER, HIERARCHY OF CREDIBILITY.
References in periodicals archive ?
"From Sinks to Webs: Critical Social Science after the Fact-Value Distinction." Canadian Review of Sociology /Revue canadienne de sociologie 54(4):423-44.
As in the works written since After Virtue, MacIntyre's main concern in his new book is the fact-value distinction. "I have feelings about what would please me and that's what I value and what motivates me," is an expression we would expect from someone who hews to this distinction.
Law scholars debate the fact-value distinction in interdisciplinary studies of law.
In this new volume targeted to undergraduate students of economics, James Halteman and Edd Noell lament the fact-value distinction found in modern economics.
The discussion of these objections gives particular attention to the legacy of Hume's fact-value distinction.
In my reading, Ward employs the fact-value distinction as a surrogate for the unresolved science-religion demarcation, and he thereby ignores one of the bigger philosophical questions of the last century (i.e., whether this is a legitimate distinction).
(It is not necessarily the case that Hailer subscribes to a fictitious distinction between action and belief just because his argument relies on it--he could be attempting a shrewd manipulation of belief.) Haller's arguments depend, furthermore, on additional, related and similarly questionable distinctions, including a fact-value distinction which treats modem science as if it possessed moral neutrality and did not presuppose certain goods, as well as a distinction between ethics and prudence that forgets that prudence is a virtue that is always entangled with purposes.
"To argue from the existence of a fact-value distinction to the obligation to take responsibility for our actions is to violate the fact-value distinction" (p.
Cora Diamond's "`We Are Perpetually Moralists': Iris Murdoch, Fact, and Value" maintains a steady attention to the fact-value distinction so important in analytic philosophy, and especially to the publicized dispute between R.
Schmitt and Copenhaver make a plausible case that many supposedly modern philosophical issues - the embeddedness of thought in language, the need to choose among incommensurate conceptual schemes, the problem of the fact-value distinction - have roots going back to the Renaissance.
Some of the implications are interesting, especially the author's view that a satisfying theory of content has to appeal to notions of value, and his related attack on the fact-value distinction. But unless the theory can produce an analysis of at least some legitimately intentional concepts, the value of these far-reaching claims is largely mooted.
Lang's convictions are precise: human beings are not objects, and, in descriptions of human beings, the fact-value distinction fails; morality is more important than law; there are dimensions of human existence which fall outside the scope of the political; corruption in people and in politics goes hand in hand with a corruption of language.